Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fidel (1991-2008)

"I guess it's our fault,” Call said. “We should have shot sooner.”

“I don't want to start thinking about all the things we should have done for this man,” Augustus said. “If you've got the strength to ride, let's get out of here."

-- Words spoken over the body of Josh Deets, their hired hand, friend, and companion of many years. From Lonesome Dove, a novel by Larry McMurtry


When I was home sick five years ago, it was Fidel out of all the cats who sat with me and kept me company as I recovered from surgery.

In his prime Fidel was over 30 pounds, without fat. I always suspected that there was a small amount of ocelet in him.

Fidel loved people, and would hold court on the top of our ottomon. He demanded fealty from people, and would generally get it. People normally felt they benefitted from spending time with Fidel.

Fidel was an alpha-male and did not well tolerate the presence of his older brother Max in the house. We did a lot of things to try to even the playing field, including putting a weighted collar on Fidel and hiring a pet behavorist to evaluate the situation.

Fidel outlived Max. On the day Max died (appropriately, it was Good Friday), Fidel retired from active business, and began to be even more relaxed around humans, and to spend even more time on the ottoman.

Fidel had a difficult last year or so. He was throwing up a lot, lost about 10 pounds, and was suffering from a thyroid condition and a heart condition. We took him to the Animal Medical Center for the radio-iodine treatment that was so effective for his older sister, Missy. However, it did not work for Fidel.

After the treatment, Fidel had to spend a longer time in quarantine than Missy, and he just wasn't the same after he came home. Maybe, Fidel needed more people around him. Maybe, it was just his time either way. We did not do a necropsy, so we'll never know.

Fidel is survived by his grieving mother, his puzzled father, and his two sisters, one feline and one human, who so far have not seemed to notice the difference.